Statement from BCA President Tim Reed on Jobs and Skills Summit outcomes

02 September 2022

The Summit was an opportunity to reset our national direction and position ourselves on the frontier. While we’ve made critical progress, we can’t solve every problem in two days.

We must continue to reset the national direction and businesses are ready to continue working to deliver a stronger economy with better jobs and higher wages.

On migration

We welcome the summit’s agreement that well managed migration is a key driver of Australia’s prosperity. We won’t reach the frontier without the knowledge and skills transfer that comes with well managed migration, so a consensus on getting this right is critical.

Achieving agreement between workers and businesses on the importance of migration is a significant step.

We welcome the government’s decision to lift our permanent migration intake in line with recommendations from business and to providing resources to manage chronic visa backlogs. This will have to remain a priority area because businesses are crying out for more workers across every sector and skill level.

On Workplace Relations

We welcome this opportunity to build a workplace relations system that benefits workers and businesses, particularly on common-sense and agreed changes to the BOOT.

We appreciate the government’s willingness to listen and change its position on a decision to reinvigorate the enterprise bargaining system that currently sees workers earn $100 a day more than those on the award. 

Business wants Australians to earn more but sustained real wage growth can only be achieved with sustained productivity growth, and that requires innovation. We do not believe multiemployer bargaining is a solution to this problem. 

We are concerned about the prospect of multiemployer bargaining and its potential negative impact on innovation, supply chains, industrial action and the overall complexity of the system.

While there is no detailed proposal on the table, we’ll need comprehensive and broad consultation to avoid a system that increases complexity and locks in rigidity.

We urge proponents of this change to put a detailed proposition on the table, based on existing elements of the act, and clarifying it with; a clear outline of the problem we’re trying to solve; confirmation that such a system would be voluntary for workers and businesses; and explaining exactly how it would be implemented and how broadly the system would apply.

We have heard legitimate concerns with the current system, but we can't solve them by creating new problems.


The strong agreement among participants on the need for industry and learner centred skills system means we’ve got no time to waste getting on with fixing the system.

Businesses have agreed to work together to design an industry skills guarantee, stepping up on training. We will work with Jobs and Skills Australia to share information on our skills needs and the cutting-edge training many businesses already delivering.

The government’s announcement of 180,000 fee-free TAFE places is a powerful investment that will bolster Australia’s skills pipeline. The state and federal governments’ $1.1 billion joint commitment will help prevent today’s workforce shortages from persisting into the future.

Barriers to work and participation

There was strong agreement that women’s participation and that the elimination of barriers to workforce participation are core economic issues.

Businesses share the summit’s ambition to ensure all Australians have the same opportunities to engage in the workforce and to education, skills and training.

The Business Council has committed to working with the Department of Social Services to design a program to lift the workforce participation of people with disability.

A list of the BCA’s summit commitments and outcomes is available here.


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